Sunday, June 1, 2014

Game Review: Mega Man I-V (GB)

Action Platformer; Game Boy (3DS Virtual Console); Capcom; 1991-5 (VC 2011, 2014)
Sorry for the massive delay in releasing this blog. Yesterday, me and my brothers moved into our new apartment, which meant a lot of moving large objects into relatively small spaces, including a desk that gave us so much trouble that we determined that the next time we move we will fully disassemble it... with an axe. Yesterday was a lot of moving things into the new apartment while today is a lot of unpacking the boxes to figure out where the hell we put everything. Anyway, as I said last week May was my best month in terms of views with the month ending with 883, more than double what I had at the monthly views I had at the start of the year, and accounting for nearly a sixth of my all time views. Please continue to support my blog and here's hoping that this month I can break 900 views. Without further ado, to celebrate my relative success on this blog, I will give you guys a short review of each of the Mega Man games that where released on the classic Game Boy. Are they watered down versions of the classic NES games? Or something that truly needs to be played?

Robot Enemy Screws that shoot out bullets. Sometimes I love video games.
Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge is the first game in the Mega Man GB series, and oddly enough the only one that has a title unique from it's NES counterpart. With no plot outside of "Dr. Wily is at it AGAIN." Mega Man must fight through four Robot Masters from Mega Man 1 and four more Robot Masters from Mega Man 2 (a trend you will see with these games) with the addition of a brand new boss. The game is set up similarly to other Mega Man games with the exception that only the four Robot Masters from MM1 being selectable at the start (the MM2 Robot Masters are set in as the traditional Mega Man gauntlet at the end of the first Wily stage); however, Mega Man's first foray into the handheld scene wasn't as graceful as you might hope. Mega Man moves far more sluggishly (which is probably to combat the GB's horrible "screen bleeding") and his jumps and shots more very slowly. It also doesn't help that the screen is so compact that you can't see that far ahead of you and enemies appear so close. The biggest problem Mega Man 1 has is that you cannot open your weapon menu (which is also your only pause option) while one of your shots is on screen. EVEN for you Plasma Cannon and EVEN when those shots are being reflected. And given how slowly they travel it will take a long time before you can pause the action. Overall, this Mega Man is probably the BEST you can expect from an early GB game. Sluggish controls and rather barebones level design and it is the shortest of all the GB Mega Man games with only 6 stages, but hey it's still Mega Man.

This place looks familiar....
 Mega Man II is where the GB series starts to get confusing, especially since it shares it's name with the NES game. Not only does this game pull the remaining four Robot Masters from Mega Man II, but it also throws in four from Mega Man III as well as Rush and Mega Man's slide, and it has some weird story about Dr. Wily getting a Time Machine or something, it's really hard to follow. Compared to the previous game Mega Man II is a huge improvement. Mega Man is still slightly sluggish, but his shots are much faster and you can Pause and switch weapons even while your bullets are on screen. The level design this time around tries to emulate the stages from the games Mega Man II is pulling from, with some modifications to accommodate the smaller screen. Overall the stages aren't bad, but does make you want to go through the "Big Brother" stages they pull from. However, this game is also incredibly EASY, and as such I burn through the game in under an hour on my first try despite the fact that it is slightly longer than it's predecessor. It also serves to point out that this game has the EASIEST BOSS in all of Mega Man History.

Wait, shouldn't that be "MB" for Mega Buster rather than "P" for Plasma Cannon?
While Mega Man II is the easiest of the Mega Man GB series, Mega Man III is definitely the hardest. As always Mega Man III grabs the remaining four Robot Masters from MM III and adds four from MMIV, this time using the "Fight Four, then Four more" format that the later Mega Man games used. It also adds more responsive controls and Mega Man IV's Mega Buster. But as I said, this is also the hardest of the GB games. While the Mega Buster can be charged up, it charges rather slowly and gives a very small power boost making not worth it most of the time. The stages, more often than not, is a series of "Pixel Perfect Precision" Jumps where if you are off by just a SMIDGEN you are instantly killed, particularly in Dive Man's stage. What's worse is that there is a screen in Dust Man's stage where you have nothing but a floor of spikes that is too far to jump and none of the disappearing platforms, the kicker: In order to get Rush Jet, you need to beat Dust Man... right....

Now things get interesting.
While the previous GB Mega Man games have been solely miss-mashes and Gameboy-ified versions of the classic NES games, Mega Man IV starts to change things up a bit. Like the previous games, Mega Man IV grabs the remaining four Robot Masters of MMIV as well as four Robot Masters from MMV, but unlike the previous games Mega Man IV changes things up. In addition to the regular drops, enemies now can drop P-Chips which you can give to Dr. Light to make items including the Energy Balancer first seen in Mega Man VI. Another really interesting change is that Mega Man's charged Mega Buster now has a kickback. When Mega Man unleashes a fully charged blast he gets propelled a little ways backwards. At first this just seems like a nice little touch, but when running and gunning it does add a nuance that can make you miss even very basic jumps. It's a mechanic I never really got the hang of, but that is probably more due to my experience with a kickbackless Mega Buster for such a long time. The stages also have gotten more and more unique, with the original stages for the Wily fortress offering something that I have never seen before in a Mega Man game. It might sound like Mega Man IV is the best of the GB Mega Man games right? Well, there is one more, and it is a doozy.

Look at that hair!
At last we come to Mega Man V for the Gameboy, now you might be thinking: This game will have the remaining four Robot Masters from V and four Robot Masters from VI, right? WRONG! Mega Man V not only breaks from the formula of the GB Mega Man games, but also breaks from Mega Man formula entirely. Instead of fighting more Robot Masters with the naming scheme of "Something Man" (or "Something Woman" in the case of Splash Woman), you are fighting the Staroids with each of them being named after one of the Planets (including Pluto, which isn't a planet anymore, and Uranus, don't start with that just don't). Mega Man also has abilities never seen before in a Mega Man game, namely the Mega Arm which replaces the charged shot with a rocket fist that can even grab items. So unlike all the other GB Mega Man games, Mega Man V is a completely original game, with original stages and bosses not based on the NES games, and it's great. After four games of steady improvements, Mega Man V not only nails Mega Man's movements, but also uses nearly perfect level design for a GB game. It is fun, lengthy (for a Mega Man game), and completely original. So without further ado here are my verdicts for all five GB Mega Man games.

For Mega Man I and III

 For Mega Man II

 For Mega Man IV

 For Mega Man V

There you go, Mega Man I has the issues a lot of early GB games have and Mega Man III is a bit too frustratingly difficult to warrant a full recommendation. Mega Man II is fun, but it's ease and subsequently lack of staying power limits it. Mega Man IV is a blast for any Mega Man fan and it introduces several things that you don't see in many Mega Man games. And finally, Mega Man V is a whole other beast, with unique mechanics and a completely original cast of bosses and powers, not only that but brilliant level designs suited for the Gameboy, earns it a Must Play.

There you guys have it, and until next time.

-Crescent, Quint, not only the easiest boss in Mega Man history, but also gives the absolute WORSE Weapon. That's right, even WORSE than Top Spin.

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